The organizers of Africa’s largest housing and construction event – Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS) – has announced that the 14th edition of the annual show will go ahead in July 2020. However, unlike the previous editions, this year’s will be the first virtual edition.

In a statement signed by AIHS Chief Executive, Festus Adebayo, this is important given the current state of global affairs. The unfortunate spread of the novel coronavirus has, according to Adebayo, led to a strategic adjustment, while doing everything possible to still meet the needs of the show’s participants.

‘’As a show committed to human development and as a responsible platform, we are abiding by the current global safety measures that limits the spread and dangers of covid-19 through social distancing and isolation. As known to many, AIHS has become an all-important convergence of local and international stakeholders, speakers, and exhibitors in the housing and construction industry. This will make it a hot zone for the spread of the virus should we go ahead with the physical edition as we have done successfully for the past 13 years,’’ the statement read in part.

The organizers say that they are strongly in support of all actions towards the safety of people. As a result, they call on all stakeholders in the housing industry to stay safe and remain compliant to all safety precautions.

The show will however go on online, and the supposed July date will be announced in due course to prepare the minds of participants and enable them adjust accordingly.

Clarifying further on the need for this decision, the statement emphasized that, ‘’the show is largely dependent on the participation of everyone and it is impossible for that to happen if such participants are not healthy or alive. AIHS has grown to become a show for all. The bound of our stakeholders have expanded greatly, both in the public and private sectors, hence the need to be aware of such realities and take responsible actions that wouldn’t jeopardize our integrity, but maintain our standards and also embrace the opportunity to evolve in the digital world as we find ourselves today. The present situation in the world calls for new strategies and innovations that will meet the expectations and needs of our numerous clients.

‘’A digital AIHS is perhaps an opportunity for us all to become familiar with a future that is inevitable. With the advancement of technology, it will become a norm, and not a rarity to witness more shows like AIHS go fully digital, while maintaining its values, relevance, impact and stakeholders.’’

According to the organizers of the show which has hosted important dignitaries like Yemi Osinbajo, Debra Erb, Babatunde Fashola, former presidents, governors, ministers and national assembly members and numerous corporate executives, the virtual edition in July this year will not be any different, but will in fact even host more international dignitaries, as it will be easier for those who couldn’t have attended a physical edition to participate in the virtual edition from the comfort of their homes.

‘’This edition will most likely have more important dignitaries than we have ever seen because of the ease of participating in a virtual conference. Without any need to travel across continents, our speakers will find it quite interesting to reach out to audiences from all wherever they are,’’ the statement said.

The organizers are assuring everyone that their international partners and exhibitors have confirmed their readiness for the virtual edition in July.

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According to them, it will be rewarding for all because their current strategy considers a situation that will still enable exhibitors and brands to as always capitalize on the platform to showcase their innovative products, make sales and connect digitally with old and new customers and clients.

A full announcement of the entire process will, according to the organizers, be revealed soon. Brands and exhibitors will be duly informed about the unique opportunities for this year and how they can benefit from them.

Given that AIHS hosts over 40, 000 participants from at least 20 countries every year, the show remains the prime destination for multinational and national corporations, businesses and executives, public officials, and home seekers to converge, dialogue, network, exhibit and learn from one another about opportunities they should tap into.

AIHS has been described by many dignitaries as the home of innovation. The show according to Adebayo is constantly evolving, ever beating previous records and topping them with more exciting ideas, innovations and practices.

The housing sector has benefitted immensely from the show as many corporations have signed ground breaking agreements at the show to provide home ownership opportunities for millions of Nigerians. Over 10, 000 homes have been built as a result of these partnerships enabled by AIHS.

As the show that offers the largest market for housing and construction companies in Africa, there are over 400 product exhibitors every year with unique and innovative solutions. There have been representations from countries like USA, UK, China, India, UAE, Morocco, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and many more.

The show’s policy advocacy sessions has led to the establishment of several housing sector policies including Land Geographical Information System (LGIS) in almost all states in Nigeria, as well as the establishment of state ministries of housing.

Some of the show’s notable and ever increasing partners include Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, National Assembly Committees on Housing, Echostone International, Cosgrove, American Home Builders of West Africa, AUHF, Affordable Housing Institute, Mixta Africa, Dangote cement, OPIC, Urban shelter, Brain & Hammers, Infinity Mortgage, COPEN Group, Shelter Afrique, IMF, World Bank, Royal Ceramics, AFP Furniture (Julius Berger), ABUMET, Costrimix, Wiser estates, IFC Edge building, Family Homes Funds, NMRC, FMBN, FCDA, Eximia Realty, Oct 5 real estate, Haven Homes, Alaro city, Revolution Plus, REDAN, MBAN, Platinum Mortgage, First Trust Mortgage, Association of Housing Corporation, Wallpaper World, iBuild, Hydroform International, Landmark Africa, Adrano property, Netconstruct limited, Jedo investments, Leisure court, Nedcomoaks, Window story, Modern shelters limited among other prominent partners.

Some of the show’s well anticipated and attended special sessions are ones like the CEOs Forum, Financial Conference, Not Too Young To Own a Home Session, Women in Housing Session, Alternative Finance Session etc. AIHS is indeed a one-stop event for multi-industry issues involving both government and private stakeholders, investors and esteemed participants.

The show is one that is always well covered by the media, offering more opportunity for exhibitors and speakers to be heard even outside the show, and this year will be no different.

Most importantly, according to Adebayo, AIHS remains the leading promoter of affordable housing in Africa, and looks forward to the unique experiences that will be offered participants during this year’s first virtual edition in July.

In spite of this virtual edition, the organizers are still hoping that the physical event will hold for in the 2nd week November 2020